If my father is not listed on my birth certificate and something happens to him, am I entitled to his property or anything?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If my father is not listed on my birth certificate and something happens to him, am I entitled to his property or anything?

My father is really ill. He and I in the past few years got to really bond as father and daughter. His name is not on my birth certificate. His granddaughter has been taking care of him, however I am his only child now.

Asked on January 19, 2017 under Estate Planning, Tennessee


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

First of all, you would have to prove that your father is in fact your father since he is not listed on your birth certificate. If you can do that to the satisfaction of a court, then you can legally be declared to be his "child". As such, you might be entitled to a part of his estate. If he had a Will but you are not listed in it, then you probably have no claim. That having been said, many states require certain language so as to disinherit a child and if that was not done in his Will, then you would potetially have a claim against his estate. If, on the other hand, your father dies without a Will, then as an heir you will be entitled to a share in the estate. Since this is a bit of a complicated situation and the law on this is state specific, you should consult directly with a probate attorney as to your rights; they can best advise you further.

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